Intrahousehold Specialization in Housework in the United States and Denmark

31 Pages Posted: 17 May 2007  

Jens Bonke

Rockwool Foundation Research Unit

Mette Deding

Danish National Institute of Social Research (SFI)

Mette Lausten

Danish National Institute of Social Research (SFI)

Leslie S. Stratton

Virginia Commonwealth University - School of Business - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: May 2007

Abstract

Objective: Focusing on housework activities, we construct a gender neutral composite index measure of intrahousehold specialization. We hypothesize that the degree of specialization is influenced by economic notions of efficiency, as well as by time constraints and egalitarian values. Methods: Employing time use data on US and Danish couples, we model specialization using a multivariate two-limit Tobit. Results: We analyze the comparability of reported time use and our specialization index using different types of data. We find evidence that Danish households specialize less than American households and postulate that this cross-national difference is a result of the more egalitarian family culture within Scandinavia. A finding that children are associated with significantly increased specialization in the US but not in Denmark is attributed to the subsidized childcare services provided by the Danish welfare system. Conclusion: Intrahousehold specialization in housework varies with economic circumstances, time constraints, and social values.

Keywords: time use, housework, specialization

JEL Classification: D13

Suggested Citation

Bonke, Jens and Deding, Mette and Lausten, Mette and Stratton, Leslie S., Intrahousehold Specialization in Housework in the United States and Denmark (May 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 2777. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=986351

Jens Bonke

Rockwool Foundation Research Unit ( email )

Sejroegade 11
DK-2100 Copenhagen
Denmark

Mette Deding

Danish National Institute of Social Research (SFI) ( email )

Herluf Trolles Gade 11
DK-1052
Copenhagen K, DK-1052
Denmark

Mette Lausten

Danish National Institute of Social Research (SFI) ( email )

Herluf Trolles Gade 11
DK-1052
Copenhagen K, DK-1052
Denmark

Leslie S. Stratton (Contact Author)

Virginia Commonwealth University - School of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 844000
Richmond, VA 23284-4000
United States
804-828-7141 (Phone)
804-828-1719 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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